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LO boys reach consolation finals at Les Schwab Invite

by: VERN UYETAKE, 
Lake Oswego’s Billy Reader fends off a Tigard defender in the second round of the Les Schwab Invitational. Lake Oswego beat Tigard after an early loss to Sunset.

The Lake Oswego boys got off to a rocky start in the prestigious Les Schwab Invitational last week but quickly made up for it, rallying to win a pair of impressive games to earn a spot in the consolation finals.

The team showed vast improvement in just a few short days following a disappointing 56-49 loss to Sunset in a game where the Lakers couldn't seem to stop spinning their wheels.

'I was disappointed with our energy level. I don't know why but we just weren't ready,' coach Mark Shoff said.

Lake Oswego was lackluster on both sides of the ball, particularly on defense as Sunset jumped out to a 31-18 lead at the half.

'We weren't running to get back on defense. It was like we were in quicksand. You just wanted to stop the game, go back to the locker room and put a battery in these guys,' Shoff said.

Perhaps most disturbingly was that the Lakers, one of the taller teams in the tournament, were outrebounded by the Apollos 22-8 in the first half despite Sunset's tallest player checking in at 6'3'.

Lake Oswego's second team came in and made a game of it, cutting the lead to four points but Sunset went on another run and endured a brief fourth quarter rally to move into the winner's bracket.

The loss put the Lakers into the consolation bracket and the team needed a quick turnaround to avoid a second straight loss as it took on Tigard.

With a new, bigger starting line-up featuring 6'8' Billy Reader and 6'4' sophomore Max Livingston the Lakers upped their commitment to defense and it showed.

Lake Oswego held the Tigers to just 10 first-half points completely taking away its inside game in the process.

Max Jacobsen was credited with five blocked shots in the game as Tigard settled for jump shots for most of the contest.

Jacobsen also led the Lakers in scoring with 19.

Lake Oswego led by 18 at the half and then held Tigard to just four points in the fourth quarter, holding them to under 30 for the game in a 63-27 victory.

That set up a showdown with a strong Central Catholic team in the consolation semifinals.

In an evenly matched game, the Lakers used a balanced attack to come away with an impressive 58-50 victory in one of its best efforts of the young season.

Lake Oswego got things working from the outside against the Rams. Brad Smith knocked down an early three-pointer as did Livingston which helped open up the team's inside game.

The Lakers led 28-25 after the first half and its sharp shooting gave it a quick advantage after the break.

Smith knocked down two more three-pointers to open the third quarter as Lake Oswego quickly built a 10-point advantage.

'When we go with that big line-up and guys are shooting well you kind of have to pick your poison,' Shoff said.

Jacobsen had a team-high 15 points and Reader poured in 13 as the Lakers were able to outlast the Rams down the stretch and set up a showdown with South Medford in the consolation finals.

Lake Oswego and South Medford played in back-to-back state championship games in 2006 and 2007, splitting the games and, in an earlier tournament this season in California, South Medford knocked off the Lakers in a game that Shoff wanted to play again moments after the final horn.

'We didn't shoot the ball well so it will be nice to get another shot at them,' the coach said.

That game was held on Tuesday afternoon but results were not available at press time.

Overall the coach was pleased with how his team rebounded and grew during the tournament.

'This is what the preseason is for and we're tweaking a number of things,' Shoff said.